LOCAL LAD DEFEATS THE WORLD'S BEST AT PARRAMATTA
Local Sydney driver Ian Madsen has won the biggest race of his career by defeating the world's best Sprintcar racer Donny Schatz at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway this evening.
Madsen claimed victory in the $10,000 to win Hogs Breath Cafe International ahead of Schatz and Marty Perovich in one of the best races seen at the venue for some time.
For the majority of the 30-lap journey Madsen, Schatz and Australian Champion Garry Brazier were engaged in a titanic battle for the top three spots.
Schatz found his way to the front at half race distance and the majority of the large crowd expected that he would run away to dominate the race, however, it wasn't to be.
Madsen fought back on a restart with ten laps to go looked to pass Schatz for the lead on the inside through turn one before making it stick with a 'slide job' in turn three and four.
Brazier also moved past Schatz on the next lap before overtaking Madsen for the lead with six laps to go. Brazier's race came to a premature end with a handful of laps remaining when he ran wide exiting turn two and spun after contact with Madsen's car.
Madsen held his nerve at the ensuing restart over the final four laps to pull a gap over Schatz and go on to claim his third career win at the Parramatta venue.
"I can't believe it. To beat Donny Schatz like that is unbelievable, it is probably the most fun I've ever had in a race. I still can't believe it, I'm shaking in the legs and everything," said Madsen.
"I was just praying that everything held on until the end and it did. I can't believe it, every little noise I thought was Schatz and then I just couldn't believe it.
"This is the most special feature race ever, to do it with all of my mates and school mates who help me out, everyone who has stuck behind me through thick and thin. It's just awesome."
Schatz was full of praise for the young Australian's drive in tonight's event.
"It was a fun night, it obviously not the way I would have liked to have finished but Ian done one hell of a job, you've got to give him credit. He kept plugging away and got exactly what he needed," said Schatz.
"That's just the way it goes, they caught me out of sync and it just took that one time and I got passed by him along with Brazier, it took me a lap or two to gather back up but once I got going I was fine but the race was over by that point."
Schatz's World of Outlaws team owner and NASCAR Legend Tony Stewart continued to adapt to the tricky Parramatta surface by setting the third fastest time during qualifying before finishing fifth in the feature race.
"I've got a good car to drive and a great teacher with Donny here so I'm learning a little bit more each night and felt a lot more comfortable tonight compared to the first night I was here," said Stewart.
"The track was definitely a little difficult tonight, the weather over the last couple of days has really made the track a little trickier than what I'm used to. I'm not used to them being quite as 'ledgey' as it was and cars kind of banging the right rear off the cushion, but it makes it fun. You have to work hard at getting into a rhythm and make consistent laps.
"I felt like over the last 15 laps of tonight's main I got a lot better and my lap times didn't fall off as much as the cars in front of me and I was making time. I've still got a little way to be as good as good as Donny, Garry and Madsen but I'm learning a lot.
"In saying that though, for a guy who only runs three or four Sprintcar races a year I've been pretty pleased with the last couple of nights."
Early race leader Ian Loudoun endured a hard luck story in the main event when his race ended early after he collected his 10-18 Motorsport team-mate Paul Freeman who had spun in turn three. The incident brought about the first of three stoppages in the race.
Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway will fire up again this Saturday night for the opening night of the $50,000 to win Scott Darley Memorial race followed by the final night on Sunday.
Joining the American trio of Schatz, Stewart and Tim Shaffer at this event will be fellow American Jason Johnson and Australian stars Brooke Tatnell, Robbie Farr, Max Dumesny and Ryan Farrell.
HOGS BREATH SPRINTCAR INTERNATIONAL
Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway, Sydney, NSW
1. Ian Madsen
2. Donny Schatz
3. Marty Perovich
4. Tony Stewart
5. James Thompson
6. Tim Schaffer
7. Skip Jackson
8. Glen Saville
9. Roddy Bell-Bowen
10. Adrian Maher
11. Mitchell Dumesny
12. Jeremy Cross
13. Craig Morrison
14. Darryl Campbell
15. Grant Tunks
16. Ben Atkinson
17. Warren Ferguson
18. Peter Gordon
19. David Craft
20. Mick Turner
21. Jeff Lawler
DNF Garry Brazier
DNF Ian Loudoun
DNF Paul Freeman
-source: Parramatta City Raceway